Thursday yielded perfect weather to spend some quiet time at West Peak.
Visit #1147, Thursday 12 July 18, 6:30-7:15PM.
Temps in the 80's, sunny and dry.
Visit #1148, Saturday 14 July 18, 6:30-11:30AM.
Temps in the high 70's, sunny and humid.
I took a mountain bike ride up to Hubbard Park on Thursday to spray paint over some of our stubborn, persistent Bible quoting vandal's work which I found last week.
On my return leg on the Yellow Trail, I came across a fallen tree. I'll remove it in two weeks along with another tree that's fallen across another trail, which I found on Saturday.
As I stopped by the south end of Merimere Reservoir, I noticed the No Trespassing signs I reported vandalized in June had been replaced with new signs.
While I was there, I rode to West Peak to check out the rocks as there is a continual problem with graffiti there as well. Unfortunately, I wasn't disappointed.
The brown paint you see was from my previous attempts to cover graffiti.
"This World Is Ours" was a repeat of graffiti found in September 2016. Same artist? Who cares; it's got to go.
Problem was, my car was at the shop being serviced so I had no transportation this weekend. What to do?
Well; I combined my two hobbies and on early Saturday morning, packed my backpack, pumped up my tires, and rode my mountain bike to Hubbard Park to paint over the graffiti and pick up trash. I figured I'd be done in time to watch the end of Saturday's stage of the Tour de France.
I left the house at 6AM, arrived at Hubbard Park at 6:30, and rode up to West Peak. I donned my coveralls, cracked open the paint can, and went to work.
I took the trail down to the bottom, then walked back up the road, collecting litter along the way.
My Find of the Week was this pack of electrode patches from perhaps, someone's Holter Monitor. I'd love to hear the story behind them.
Back at the start, I cleaned up the trailhead. Those logs, which were meant to keep vehicles from driving down the trail, out of sight, have been rolled out of the way. I'm working on a plan to reinstall them at their original location with more permanence.
I returned to the West Peak parking lot, and as I was cleaning up the parking lot, I met a mountain biker riding early to avoid the heat.
As we were chatting, Glen said he was told of a particular trail, which he was looking for. For the sake of park ambassadorship, I decided to curtail my litter pickup duties for the day and show him the trail. I left two trash bags at West Peak for later collection by the Meriden Parks Department.
My job as tour guide for Glen was going just fine, UNTIL we neared the end of the trail by Merimere Reservoir.
Ooops; I flatted. That's not a big deal because I carry spare tubes and a patch kit. EXCEPT I forgot to pack them with the paint, coveralls, trash bags, etc. and they were in my other, bike specific bag !
Turns out Glen didn't carry any spares either. But he offered his cellphone to call his wife to pick us up.
Time for Pete's Sermon: A cellphone is no substitute for carrying spares while riding. Can I get an Amen, brother?!
If I used his cellphone to bail myself out, there would be no lesson learned; I needed to suffer through this problem. So I stubbornly refused his offer.
As I began to ride across the north end of Merimere Reservoir, I saw they were setting up a water stop for whatever charity run/walk was being held. Because of my pride/shame, I couldn't bear the thought of riding past dozens of people looking at this knucklehead riding a flat tire by them at 5mph, so I decided to leave Hubbard Park via the north end of Merimere Reservoir.
What would be the odds of meeting another cyclist who might be able to dig me out of my hole with say, a patch kit for my tube?
Today was my incredibly lucky day because, as my Lotto winning luck would have it, as soon as I pushed my bike through the gate, here came another cyclist!
I'd previously met Dan Roman hiking with his wife in Hubbard Park. Dan is a Meriden resident and former state champion wrestler when he attended Maloney High School. Now he uses hiking and bike riding for exercise.
Dan was my winning Lotto ticket, as he had a patch kit I could use to repair my tube.
My experience has been these self-adhesive patches work nowhere near as good as the real thing, but I was in no position to be choosy. So I accepted his generosity and stuck two patches on my tire, pumped it up, and with no more shame and pride to worry about, rode south past Merimere Reservoir with Dan.
The tube didn't appear to be holding air despite the patches, and Dan offered to give me a ride home.
But remember; I said I was stubborn. So like a dope, I declined someone's help for a second time thinking I needed to learn a lesson.
As soon as Dan and I parted at the south end of the reservoir, the tire went flat again, and I was resigned to riding all across Meriden on my flat tire.
As I turned onto Charles Street, I came upon Eversource performing road work, and two police officers directing traffic; one Meriden officer and one from Southington PD.
In my shame as I rode by, I tried to make light of the situation and jokingly asked the cops, "Hey, do you have any spare tubes?!" To which the Meriden cop caught me red-handed and rightly shamed me joshing, "You've got a full backpack and no tubes in there?!"
Can you blame him?
Believe it or not, the Southington cop offered to give me a ride home, but I explained I MUST learn through my pain, and once again stubbornly refused help.
Needless to say, I arrived home too late to watch the end of the Tour de France, and in need of a new tire and tube.
'Til next week, maintain.